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atd. Whatervationis nature
66 The guilty Sinner convicted. Part I. vereignty of the world. What will, what can make it his due, if creation, preservation, benefits, and the supereminent excellencies of his nature, qualifying him as it were for so great a post, do not give a just claim? And God has a right to the government of the world upon all these accounts. He made us, and not we ourselves; he is the mighty preserver of men; he loads us daily with his benefits; and there is none like him to be his competitor. (2.) You cannot allege unjust laws. You cannot say that he has overstretched his pre. rogative, and withholden any part of that which was your unquestionable due. No, who dare implead the most High of injustice? Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Are not all his laws, most just always, and his judgments most righteous? Is he not a God of truth and without iniquity ? Sure he is. We boldly bid you a defiance to discover any thing unjust in that body of laws which God has given to the fons of men. Nor, (3.) cản ye allege the rigour of his laws, that he is an austere one, and has gone to the utmost he might with you, exacted all that he possibly could. No, he has consulted your good in the frame of his laws, and has contrived them so, that every one who understands what he says, must own, that had mankind been at the making them, they could not by all their joint wit have gone near to make them so exactly answer the delign of the high God, his glory in the good of the creature, as he has done. Nay further, your sins, in the
4th Place. Have this aggravation, that they are committed without any prospect of advantage to countervail the damage you sustain. Could ye pretend, that ye can by your disobedience gain
fome great thing; if it did not excuse you, it would yet make you to be pitied, as being overborn by a very great temptation : but this cannot, dare not be alleged; no, you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which doth not profit. You can make 110 hand of it. You offend the God of your mercies, without any provocation, and that for a very trifle. He has not stood with you upon the greatest, and ye fcruple the least points with him; yea, for a very shadow of pleasure ye stand not to offend him. Nay,
Sthly, You fin, notwithstanding the interpofition of the most folemn vows to the contrary; and therefore, we might have made this one of the ingredients of sin, perjury. All of you who are now before the Lord, stand folemnly engaged to fear, and obey and ferve the Lord, all the days of your lives. When you were offered to God in baptism, then you came under the vows of God; and when you have given your presence in the public allemblies of God's people, since ye came to age, ye have folemnly owned and ratified those vows; and yet notwithstanding all these, you have sinned against God, even your covenanted God, and therefore, there is perjury in all your fins. You have de. spiled the oath in breaking the covenant of your God. Once more, in the
6th Place, When you have sinned and continue to sin against God, yet ye continue to profess fealty and subjection to him, and thereby add fearful hypocrisy and mockery to your wickedness: like that profane people with whom the prophet Malachy had to do, who dealt traiterously with God, wearied him with their wickedness, robbed him of his duè, and yet asserted their own innoE 2
cency in all; and this throughout the whole of that book is charged upon them, as an aggravation of their guilt. Their profession they still kept up, and challenged God to shew wherein they had failed of their duty. Now, this is much your case, your very appearance here carries if it such a challenge. Would ye come here without seru. ple, and to boldly rush into God's presence whom ye have offended, were ye not at this with it, that ye judge God.either knows not, or will not be offended with what ye have done? : Lilin
Now you have heard your charge opened, it is not as we have said before, some petty misdemeanour that is libelled against you, but crimes as black as hell, atheisin, idolatry, blafphemy, rob'bery, rebellion and murder, and that against the God of your mercies, over the belly of a great many notable preventing means of grace, in spite of the most folemn vows to the contrary, without any shadow of provocation, any prospect of real advantage, and all this notwithstanding a great many professions to the contrary.
Here is the sum and substance of your indict. ment, enough to make heaven and earth astonithed, that God does not in fury fall upon us and make an utter end of us. If every one saw his own concernment in this matter, how would we be affected ? it would make a strong work in this house.
This, O finners, is your charge: what have you to answer to it? Plead ye guilty or not? Sure I am, every foul in this house may say with
Job in that is chapter of his book, and 20 ver. If · I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me:
if I say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. If you plead guilty, and take with the
charge chage, what means this security we see among you? Is it not a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? Is it an easy thing to suffer the punishment due to such crimes? Sure none can say it is.
But it may be some of you may be ready to fay, indeed we cannot deny ourselves to be sinners. God help us, for we have all sinned; but indeed, we never thought, nor can we yet think that every sin has in it all these monstrous evils you have mentioned. God forbid we were all of us atheists, idolaters, blafphemers, robbers, murderers, and perjured rebels, as you have made us. No, we have indeed finned, but our consciences did never accuse us of any such monstrous impieties as these are. To these who shall dare to say or think so, we answer, I. We do indeed believe that many of your consciences did never accuse you of any such crimes. Many of you keep the eyes of conscience fast shut in ignorance. You fear to bring your deeds to the light of a well informed conscience, lest they hould be reproved. Others of you have sinned your consciences asleep, or rather you have abused them, so that they are either faint, that they cannot speak loud, or stupified that they cannot speak at all. But all this will not prove your innocence as to the crimes alleged. Wherefore, 2. Who has the juster estimate of sin, God or you? Who knows best what malignity, what evil.there is in its nature? Surely God knows best what the honour of his own laws and authority is, and how får it is trampled upon by every fin. We are but of yesterday, and know nothing. 3. Whose word, think ye, will stand, God's or yours? God Tas by his word represented no less to be in it than We have said to be in it, and therefore there is no E 3
less in it. God will reckon so, and deal with you not according to the judgment ye make of sin, but that which he makes. We have made it appear fiom the word of God, that sin is such as we have represented it; and if ye think more mildly, of it, be doing, and behold the issue.
Having thus opened to you your indictment, I shall now proceed,
II. To lead witnesses, against you to prove the charge, according to the method we laid down for the management of this business in our entry upon the improvement.
But before we begin this work, we shall briefly" obviate a difficulty that may be started against the whole of what we are to say under this head. To what purpose is it (may some say) to lead witnesfus to prove a charge, which is confest? Who denies this, that they are sinners ? every one will readily own so much; and therefore, any thing that is said to prove such a thing, seems perfectly lost. To this shortly we say, (1.) Though every body acknowleges that they are guilty; yet few, very few, believe to be true what they themselves are ready to say in this matter. We all own ourselves guilty of fin; but were it believed, would not every eye be full of tears? every heart full of fears? Would not our knees Belshazzar-like beat one against another, every face gather pale. ness, and every mouth be full of that enquiry, Mein aild brethren, what shall we do to be saved ? Sure they would; and that it is not so, is a clear and unquestionable proof that we do not really believe that we fiiy. (2.) Were our only design to justify God in any measures he has taken, or may take to punish us, then indeed such an ackuowlegement were sufficient to found a fentence: